The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
If you are a college student or a job seeker, you might be familiar with LinkedIn. It’s a social media platform that helps individuals connect and build a professional network with people from their domain of interest. LinkedIn has made networking accessible in today’s internet era, allowing anyone, particularly college students and new job seekers, to connect with industry experts with the click of a button. With its multiple sections option, the platform provides the space to showcase more than what’s on one’s CV. So far, LinkedIn seems like a great place to boost your professional career, right? It indeed is, however, the LinkedIn culture has increased feelings of ‘comparison’ and ‘overwhelmingness’ which might serve as impediments to building a career and somewhat act as a demoralizing factor.
Apart from the plethora of internship and job opportunities on the platform, it also opens an avenue for creators to focus on personal branding. This goes a long way in building one’s professional profile. However, just like any other social media platform (here, LinkedIn being used for professional reasons rather than recreational purposes), it is prey to projecting half-baked stories. If you are a LinkedIn user, you will often come across posts of people making it to their dream company, project or educational institution, but these seldom highlight what goes behind the achievement. There is a tendency to highlight the best version of oneself. While the former serves as a motivator, the absence or lack of elaboration on the latter might lead to young students making wrong assumptions about their growth trajectory and doubting one’s professional abilities and hard work.
Somewhere down the line, the platform feeds the intense competitiveness of the ‘hustle culture.’ For young undergraduates who have just started their professional journey, constant exposure to filtered content that focuses only on rejoicing achievements might be detrimental and add to the fatigue that comes in the form of overwhelmingness while using the platform. One might end up comparing their journey to that of others. It’s easy to be oblivious to the bigger picture in the heat of the moment.
It’s been almost a year since I started using LinkedIn. The platform has certainly facilitated in keeping myself updated with the growing trends and opportunities in my domain of interest. However, after a few months into the platform, I felt the constant need to seize every opportunity that came my way, rather than reflecting on what I wanted or what would add to my professional profile. This is when the realization struck that everyone’s journey is different despite belonging to the same industry or area of interest. Hence, maximizing LinkedIn comes down to how you wish to perceive or consume a post that shows up on your feed.
The bottom line is not everything one comes across on the internet, even on a professional platform like LinkedIn, is entirely true. There may be several layers to a story and you might just be witnessing the surface of it. Thus, it becomes necessary to look at others’ success or achievements from a broader perspective rather than drawing immediate comparisons with our own life. Not everyone might indeed be willing to discuss their downs on a public platform and we as individuals have to respect that choice. However, the beauty of LinkedIn is one can always reach out to that individual and take inspiration from their journey by connecting via direct message. Social media can get toxic and LinkedIn isn’t excluded from the same. We as users should try to approach the platform realistically and make the best use of what works for us.